Coping with stress and exhaustionHow to stop feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and burnt out
How are you coping with stress?
How often do you get a break? Taking a break as a mum can feel not only impossible at times, but also can make you feel incredibly guilty. How crazy is that? Why do we feel guilty for looking after ourselves? Despite the worries that if we slow down or stop, everything will fall apart, taking a break is crucial for our own wellbeing.
But I’m not feeling stressed…
Perhaps I should rephrase the question. How often do you feel completely relaxed?
I think most mums identify with the feeling of being constantly ‘on’. We get through the busy day of work, childcare, housekeeping and cooking only to spend the evening catching up on chores, work or ‘relaxing’ in front of a gripping TV series which, while it gives us an escape from reality, it doesn’t allow your body to relax properly.
I know that you might not be feeling stressed all the time, but the stress response in the body is triggered by all different types of stressors. Your body doesn’t know the difference between real of perceived threat. That means the worries about the mortgage, the sabre tooth tiger in your cave and Carrie’s daughter being under threat in the latest episode Homeland all create exactly the same stress response in your body. And stress is bad for your body in so many ways!
The stress response is only meant be activated temporarily, as part of your fight or flight response. Once it has done it’s job and helped you escape danger, it must switch off. If it doesn’t, the hormonal responses that happen in your body will lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, feeling wired but tired and eventually, complete burn out.
None of that is helpful to you or your family so you must prioritise coping with stress.
Take a break
One of the most important things you can do to cope with stress is to take a break. I mean really SWITCH OFF. By learning to switch off, even just for a few minutes each day you are giving your stress response system a break. You are giving your adrenal glands a break, which in turn supports your thyroid, your immune system and boosts your energy levels. It will help you lose weight more easily, improve your milk supply and boost your fertility (if you’re thinking about having another one!)
Often us mums turn to a glass of wine, a G&T or even a box of chocolates to zone out and switch off. That may well work in terms of taking our mind of things, BUT it doesn’t actually switch off the stress response. If anything, the alcohol and the sugar actually trigger an increase in the internal stress response. In the longer term, this is all going to contribute to even worse symptoms of exhaustion.
My top 10 ways to relax and switch off
- Take a bath
- Go for a walk – alone!
- Daydream – seriously! My daughter gets told off for this all the time at school but it’s great for your mind.
- Watch a comedy
- Stare into a fire – if it’s too warm for an indoor fire and too cold for a campfire, try staring into a candle.
- Get a massage
- Take a nap
Cleanse. Soothe. Invigorate. The CSI Formula
Taking a break is just one part the Soothe step of the CSI Formula. In my Mum’s Health Coaching Programme I teach my clients the proven 3 step process to rebooting the body when it is overwhelmed, exhausted and burnt out. The CSI Formula. Cleanse. Soothe. Invigorate. This programme is carefully designed to help your body gently release the build up of stress hormones in your body, remove all the external and internal triggers of the stress response and invigorate your body. For Mums who aren’t ready for VIP coaching The Happy Mummy Cleanse covers the Cleanse step of the CSI Formula in detail.
What’s your favourite way to switch off?
Comment below – I’d love to get some new ideas of how to really relax and switch off that stress response.